With tight listing inventories across the country, prop-tech company DropOffer has come up with a creative off-market strategy to help agents and brokers find dream homes for their buyers. ”DropOffer empowers agents with increased inventory options they can suggest to their clients,” says Greg Burns, co-founder and president of the Salt Lake City-based company. “Our application opens up much-needed inventory for agents and consumers.”
With a click of a button, the DropOffer app gives users access to property information and data-backed home valuations and allows consumers to submit non-binding offers directly to homeowners. And, the founders want to make it clear: They are not trying to disrupt the agent but, instead, “it’s used by agents on behalf of their clients,” says Kimaini Clark, co-founder and chief IP counsel, adding that the app can save the time and costs involved in marketing a property.
“With my background as an agent, I wanted my clients to find homes that would fit their needs,” says Burns, who is active in the Maui, Hawaii, market. “In the past, I would knock on doors and present the owner with real offer from a buyer who loved that home. This took me a lot of time, so I felt there had to be a better way.” Burns reached out to Clark, who shared his vision of developing an easy-to-use app that could help solve the inventory problem.
Unlike iBuyers that focus on buying a house they can resell for a profit, DropOffer connects sellers with a specific home that appeals to a consumer buyer, Burns says. “Agents can come in with a buyer willing to pay what the seller wants, so it’s a very appealing proposition to a homeowner.”
Now being piloted in the Washington, DC, market, DropOffer’s principals are talking with major brokers throughout the country. “Our app lends itself to the mid- to upper market right now where sellers are looking to get a premium on a potential sale,” says Burns. He notes that one of the behind-the-scenes benefits is building a database with pricing and propensity-to-sell metrics.
How it works
DropOffer gives an agent the ability to search virtually any U.S. home — including by lot size, bedrooms and bathrooms, tax and prior sale information — to find an off-market property that appeals to that buyer. “The buyer then receives an in-app notification from the agent,” Burns says. “With an on-market home, we just connect the buyer with that listing agent,” adding that the real power of the app is reaching the other 99% of the residential market.
A buyer who receives the notification could drive by the property, contact the agent or simply press the DropOffer button in the app, triggering multiple delivery messages to that homeowner, says Burns. Along with a targeted webpage and email (if the owner’s address is available), those messages include an agent-branded ‘smart’ postcard with a street-view picture of the home with a QR code that brings the owner to a custom landing page showing the offer details, including the desired price, terms and closing date. “It is pretty eye catching when you receive the postcard that has a picture of your house,” says Clark. “It’s not something you’d typically miss.
Another DropOffer feature is the Offer Sphere, which can send agent-branded buyer messages to multiple homes on a certain street or neighborhood. “A buyer can circle a whole area and hit the button, and our app will notify everyone in the area,” Clark adds.
Currently, agents are responsible for negotiating their own commissions in DropOffer-initiated transactions. The company has a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model where agents pay a starting rate of about $89 per month to access the system with an additional $5 per campaign.
“We have also made it easy for sellers to raise their hands to show interest,” says Clark. “We’ve had a lot of people from all around the country saying they would sell their home for a specific price.”
Burns says agents can educate their clients about the DropOffer app during the home-hunting stage or get involved after the initial buyer-seller agreement by drawing up a binding contract and managing the remaining steps in the transaction. “Agents may evolve into more of the manager role rather than marketing a seller’s home,” Burns said. “In any case, our hope is that they can make more money per transaction.”